But why is it smiling?
So this past weekend we celebrated the last days of summer… but besides that, it was also the Hog Days of Summer. Arrogant Swine, the brainchild/alter-ego of Carolina whole hog-BBQer Tyson Ho, threw a series of hog-centered parties throughout this past summer and on Saturday, I swung by to check out the last one of the season.
All I knew about the event beforehand is that there would be tons of meat, and as I meandered over to a seemingly random location in industrial Greenpoint on Banker Street (I seriously still don’t understand where I was, a garden-y space in the middle of the warehouses), I honestly didn’t know what to expect.
At its bare bones (that’s the only pun I promise), Hog Days of Summer is essentially a big cookout packed with hog, where the fried pork rinds flowed freely, as did the all-you-can-drink beer provided by Founders Brewing Co.
Tyson, who spoke a couple times throughout the event (mainly to tell everyone to hashtag their Instagrams with #vegan) is passionate about this particular style of barbecue – specifically, Eastern North Carolina BBQ, one that hasn’t been fully introduced into the New York City barbecue scene as much as the others have.
200+ pounds of pure hog was ceremoniously escorted from the pit to the table and people lined up the second it came out, practically drooling while Tyson’s team split the beast and half, then proceeded to chop the life out of it (well, it’s dead, but you know what I mean). All the meat, which had been cooked over wood embers and charcoal, was mixed together (so you get the flavors of all the different parts of the hog – hence, the literal “whole hog BBQ”) and then dumped into a ridiculously huge basin where a vinegary pepper sauce was stirred into that, making for a sea of never-ending meat that no vegetarian would ever dream of even looking at.
I have to take a moment to state that the music was amazing – Olivia Gilmore belted out tunes by Amy Winehouse, Al Green, Etta James, and basically just provided the best backdrop to a good meal.
BBQ (mixed with the fried pork rinds), fritters, and apple cole slaw.
So – was it worth it? If you’re a big drinker and a bigger eater, then yes, definitely. The food was delicious, and the guy sitting next to me picked up at least three plates of pork as well as multiple beers, so I’d say he got his $40 worth. I personally didn’t go hog wild (I’m not a beer drinker) and the atmosphere was a bit meh if you’re there alone… but who can really complain when they’ve got all the meat they could possibly want at their hands?
If Hog Days of Summer comes back next year (and I hope they do!), I want to see them push it to be more than just a normal cookout with a ton of meat. The talent and passion are obviously there, and with everyone being a foodie nowadays, I’m interested in seeing what can be done to make this be not just another regular summer food event.
***The next (and last!) stop on this Eventbrite NYC Blogger Tour is Brooklyn Cured’s “Secrets of Making Good Sausage” Class at 61 Local. To find out more about the event (and to learn how to make sausage with me) head to Eventbrite!
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